Totalitarianism In Brave New World And Nineteen Eighty-Four

Great Essays
Pleasure versus Pain: Totalitarianism in Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four
For decades, the dystopian genre has grown in popularity, and is often used to express the philosophies and opinions of their authors. Two authors, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, expressed their fears through their critically acclaimed dystopian novels. Both Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four are established in totalitarian regimes, where the government controls every aspect of the citizen’s lives. While both stories have many similarities, they differ in their control mechanism; pleasure for the citizens of the World State, and pain for the citizens of Oceania. These two very different methods seek to evoke two opposing emotions – happiness
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The government is supervising them every moment of their lives. “Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed – no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull” (Orwell 29). This fear of thinking or saying thoughts that go against the Party is only reinforced by the fact that there is no one you can trust. Children adore the Party, and would gladly turn their own parents into the Thought Police. This lack of trust breeds fear, and this fear gets to the point that “it [is] almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children” (Orwell 26-27). It is impossible to freely think when the consequences of doing so are being “abolished, annihilated” (Orwell 21). This institutionalized fear of thinking is more effective in controlling the people than drowning them in pleasure, as demonstrated by the protagonists in both novels. John’s unique way of thought in BNW could not be changed no matter what Mustapha Mond told him about happiness and stability. Winston Smith’s individual thinking in 1984, which “[undermined] the envisioned unity and control” (crossroad.to), was tortured out of him by using his worst fear, rats, enforcing his compliance with Big Brother. Nothing is a more powerful motivator than …show more content…
By using propaganda, the Party implements a hatred of their enemies upon the people: in particular, the hatred of Emmanuel Goldstein. Winston describes him as “the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity” (Orwell 14), an image that has presumably been manipulated by the Party. The Two Minutes Hate is a form of propaganda that helps spread this hatred. “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in” (Orwell 16). Even if a person does not find Goldstein to be horrible, they are conditioned to react negatively to the Two Minutes Hate, indicative of a loss of free will, playing directly into the Party’s hand. The Party uses this hatred to stop those who oppose them, securing their totalitarian government. Between the two tactics, conditioning citizens to fear is more efficient than conditioning them to love. While in the World State, citizens could easily become unconditioned; the solution was to simply recondition them. With the Party, their brute force helps “create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable” (Orwell 282). While the World State simply manipulates human character, the Party manipulates human

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